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02/08/2024 12:00 AM

Easy To Make, Easy To Share

I wanted to have some friends over for brunch recently, but there was just one problem. Well, more than just one. Books. Stacks of books. Stacks and stacks and stacks of books, books, books that have accumulated on my dining room table over the course of the past few years.

Well, I don’t really have a dining room or a dining room table. It’s more like a work table that doubles as a dining table in an area of my living room in my very cozy and very small house. Anyway, before I could have my friends over for brunch, I had to clear off the work table and transform it back into a dining room table.

Get rid of the books? Ha! Nope. I ordered one of those tall rotating bookshelves, set it up, and tucked those babies away — voila! — revealing a dining room table underneath. And my beloved books are still nearby, which gives me comfort.

Other than having to clear away 80-plus books, the rest of it was easy. And that’s what I love about brunches. They are the easiest to schedule because people are often free on a Sunday around noon or 1. It’s easy to plan and prepare the menu. You can really make anything, and you have the whole day Saturday to prep and prepare. Then, you can invite your friends to bring whatever suits their fancy that day because at a brunch, it’s fine if you have a hodge podge of this’s and that’s on the buffet table. OK, I don’t really have a buffet table. But my kitchen table serves just fine as the buffet table.

To prepare, on Saturday morning, I hit up City Seed’s fabulous winter’s farmers market in New Haven, where I purchased some smoked branzino dip from Ideal Fish, a variety of Syrian and Afghani dishes from Sanctuary Kitchen, two vegan Jamaican dishes from Rastarant, some adorable microgreens from G.R.O.W.E.R.S. in these really cool plant-based compostable bags, sweet Italian and hot Italian sausage from Four Mile River Farm, sourdough bread from G Cafe Bakery, and more. The farmers market is on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Conte West School, 511 Chapel Street, New Haven. If you love food and people who love food, you should definitely check it out!

My guests, Colleen and Russ, brought some delicious homemade gravlax with tzatziki sauce. Ed and Joe brought dessert: Ed’s utterly fabulous Gran Marnier truffle cake with raspberry ganache, decorated with Chantilly cream and raspberries filled with strained raspberry preserves reduced with Gran Marnier. All of that certainly would have been enough, but I did want to make something. So I made some sausage and peppers with the Four Mile River Farm sausage and then also a quiche, using the microgreens from G.R.O.W.E.R.S.

Quiche is always a hit, easy to make, and there is plenty of room for creativity when it comes to the fillings. Also, it’s perfect for any meal of the day, so if there are leftovers, you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. That is pretty much true of any egg dish, including these little egg bites, a recipe I mentioned and promised to pass on in an earlier column. Adapted from a recipe from the back of a 4Sisters Rice bag, they do not need a crust, which makes them even easier to make. You can vary the fillings, and they keep well for several days in the fridge. And they are easy to share. The recipe calls for brown rice, but leftover white rice will work as well. And the original recipe specifies cheddar cheese, but a mix of cheeses–including cheddar and gouda, with just a bit of goat cheese or cream cheese dolloped in–is my favorite.

Egg, Cheese, Rice Muffins

Adapted from a recipe from 4Sisters (

1 cup cooked brown rice

4 large eggs, beaten

3 cups veggies or microgreens of your choice

½ cup chopped yellow onion

½-¾ cup shredded cheese

¾ cups cottage cheese or heavy cream

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon garlic powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a muffin tin or mini-muffin tin with butter, or use muffin liners.

Beat your eggs in large mixing bowl. Stir in cooked brown rice, cottage cheese or heavy cream, cheese, garlic powder, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix the veggies or microgreens into the cheesy rice mixture.

Spoon the broccoli rice mixture evenly into each muffin tin.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until firm to touch in the center.

Notes: Makes about 12 regular sized muffins or 24 mini-muffins. These can be frozen after baking.